Daily Chronicle, April 8, 1904

[“The meanness of the Government in refusing to raise the pay of the police of the district is resulting in a decline in the physique of many members of the force, who are becoming visibly thinner and thinner daily. One of them is already scraggy.”—“Times of Burmah.”]

Whereas in meditative wise
 Through London’s streets I wander,
And o’er each sight that greets my eyes
 Dispassionately ponder,
My petty worries cease to vex,
 I conquer melancholy,
On seeing good Policeman X.
 So rubicund and jolly.

He “straddles right across the way”
 (A phrase not mine, but Bunyan’s),
His whole demeanour seems to say,
 “I feed on steak and onions;
On steak and cheese and bottled beer,
 That’s why my flesh is firm.” Ah!
They do not get that sort of cheer,
 Those constables of Burmah.

Their clothes don’t fit them like a skin,
 But hang all loose and baggy;
They really are extremely thin,
 And one of them is scraggy;
Why is it that they fade away,
 And fail to fill their raiment?
The parsimonious powers, they say,
 Won’t give them proper payment.

Eye them, ye powers, and tremble. Zounds!
 They’re naught but skin and bones.
Oh, why should you be gaining pounds
 While they are losing stones?
The sense of such a scheme is small:
 Who fancies it correct errs.
Repent in time, and make them all
 Inspectors—not thin spectres.

P. G. W.